• Focus on how you are differentiating yourself and your brand in today's environment of user content overload.
  • The truly valuable content for the end consumer comes when the individual agent shifts to become a media company first.
  • You need to be fully immersed in the digital world now.

Now that I have come down from cloud nine, I have watched and rewatched (admittedly several times) Gary Vaynerchuk’s keynote speech at Inman Connect (and not just because he professed his love for me at time stamp 1:22). I really wanted to delve into the good stuff and share my takeaways with you. There is a reason I think so highly of Gary Vee.

Vaynerchuk began by posing questions that are relevant to anyone who is in a marketing and sales business — at Inman, this talk was specifically geared to real estate professionals. Here’s what I took away from Vaynerchuk’s speech:

Jab 1: Attention is the one thing that binds everyone in every type of marketing business

Before you tell me how great a product (a house, an agent or community) is, you are battling for my attention. Attention is fickle. Attention moves. Attention can shift in minutes.

Like Gary Vee, we should all be day-trading, all day, every day, for our audience’s attention. The least “salesy” way to pull your audience in is storytelling. Figure out where the people you want to connect with are right now. Tell them a story there.

We are living through the biggest communication shift since the printing press. Every person in this industry is grossly underestimating how big a shift this is.

We all need to wrap our heads around how substantial the culture shift really is. Think about it: we are always within arm’s reach of our smart phone. They are now the remote control to our digital world.

Thanks to this constant connectivity, the end user receives 10,000 times the amount of content that it did just 10 years ago. We are all recording content at scale (picture a room full of smartphones users using Facebook Live as he spoke), and that leads to a huge content supply-and-demand issue.

This is not just about getting houses in front of our audience anymore. They are being bombarded in their digital world by every other product that they use throughout their entire lives.

The question now is: how are you going to break through?

JAB 2: People continue to put out content that, in high percentage, is still in their best interest — and not of value to the end user

Vaynerchuk put it this way “I find it truly baffling that the real estate industry on the individual broker level does not understand that they need to become the digital mayor of their town.”

When you are a real estate agent first, you are forced to put out right hooks all day long (houses, houses, houses). As he put it, when you fully understand that you are a media company first and a real estate agent second, the more valuable the content you put out on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram will become.

When you decide that you, not the local newspaper, are going to be the editor-in-chief of the digital media space for your community, you become the source. You are providing real value to people considering moving to the towns that you know better than anyone else.

Interview the principals of every school. Review every dish in every restaurant in town. The faster you become synonymous with the town, the faster you become the media entity for your community.

You become the person that fundamentally has the attention, and what comes out of that is your ability to market yourself on a greater scale because the content is dramatically more viral. Oh yes, and your content needs to be on the No. 1 platform: Facebook.

The best brands in the world are spending $90 billion collectively to reach their audience. At a minimum you, the individual agent, should be spending $1,000 a month on Facebook ads.

JAB 3: Mobile is the only way to go

How does your website look in a mobile world? Because, within 24 months, the entire end consumer audience will only be living in this environment. You need to adjust your web and social presence now to a mobile environment. This is how you will sell.

Facebook Live streams are perfect for open houses. Even if your sphere is small, the video will be shared by your friends with their friends. The audience will grow exponentially. There is real transactional value going on in this environment.

Vaynerchuk “I am thirsty for people to understand how big of a deal this is because of this attention arbitrage, there is so much opportunity here!”

The other benefit of using video, especially in the ad space, is that it will drive down the cost of conversion on both your video and non-video content.

Instagram needs to be taken far more seriously.

For the most part, audiences are small. Now is the time to create a lot more content and build your following. Use 10-25 hashtags and be intentionally about them. Mix them up.

Use some that have a lot of results to gain exposure to a larger audience and some that don’t (like the name of your town, where you can pop out as the local market expert).

Nothing that we are talking about today existed 11 years ago. Netflix, YouTube, smartphones, Facebook — none of it!

If you are not digitally native, you will die! That is to say, your business won’t instantly die, but those who are digitally native will take your business away from you bit by bit.

Right hook: The difference between the winners and losers in the digital world is work ethic

Digital excites people because they (mistakenly) think that the computer is going to do all of the work for them. If you have the audacity to want to have a business on your terms and crush it, then you have to put in the work toward the craft.

Chipping away. Learning. Patience. Hard work. Repeat.

A lot of the content that we learned at Inman will move the needle a little bit (one or two more houses). You need to make a dramatic change to make a dramatic shift in your business; 99 percent of the people who hear this will not do it because it requires a lot of work!

What do you think the average 20-year-old will do in 10 years when he or she is ready to buy a house? Where will he or she go to find an agent? Yes, most likely, they will go by word-of-mouth recommendations. However, word-of-mouth will be from the internet via their smartphone.

The world is changing in a much bigger way than any of us (even Gary Vee) realize. It is a binary decision time. Do you understand just how important the digital environment is, and are you making your actions about it match your words?

Tracy Freeman is a Broker, Sales Associate at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – Maplewood, N.J. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Email Tracy Freeman

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